This is one of those posts that I have been meaning to get around to for some time now, the delay has been that I don't have to make laundry soap often and so, the window of opportunity is small. One of the many wonderful things about homeschooling is it offers so many opportunities to teach Life Skills on a daily basis. So while I set WonderBoy loose to make his first batch of laundry soap I was on hand to oversee and guide and captured the process to share with you ;-) I have to admit, the idea of making my own laundry soap was for a long time, intriguing but a little bizarre and even intimidating. I have not purchased laundry soap now for 2 plus years and cannot imagine any reason why I would at this point. The benefits of making your own laundry soap far out weigh any reasons to purchase it for me. I know what is in it, I can add the fragrance I like to the degree to which my family enjoys it, I reuse the same containers over and over again and it costs pennies to make as opposed to the $15 per bottle I would be paying at the store for the same amount or less - pretty much a no brainer!! For me the most difficult part of making homemade laundry soap is finding a store locally that carries the ingredients. I can sometimes get borax at Walmart but have a hard time finding washing soda, when Kroger had it last week I bought 2 boxes - I am good to go for a while now.
1/3 to 1 whole bar soap
(this is preference - I have used as little as 1/3 of a bar with good results, but I tend to use a whole bar most times - I live with guys who work and play hard - any kind will do)
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
3 gallons/4 cups warm water
1. Begin by pouring 4 cups of water into a medium sized pot to boil.
2. While waiting for your water to boil grate as much soap as you plan to use, this can be done by hand or in a food processor - your choice. If using a hand grater watch your flesh!!
3. By the time you are finished grating your water should be boiling, add grated soap to pot and stir until dissolved fully. This will take a few minutes and some pretty consistent stirring, the smell can be very strong at the point so if you are sensitive to that kind of this you may want to seek the aid of a designated stirrer ;-) The mixture will be cloudy and milky looking when all the soap is dissolved.
4. Now using a small pail or drink pitcher add 3 gallons of warm/hot water to a 5 gallon bucket. The bucket we use is perfect for this job and used exclusively for laundry soap - it has measurements on the bucket and a foam grip to make moving the heavy full bucket no big deal - look for one like this - you will be glad you did. We probably got it at Home Depot, maybe Lowe's.
5. Now add your pot of soapy brew to the 5 gallon bucket. You will have a bucket of milky soapy water, not to worry this is how it should look - the magic comes later ;-)
6. Next, add 1 cup of washing soda and stir for 2 minutes with a large long handled strong spoon - you need to get the bottom of the bucket and edges in the stirring process so a small serving spoon won't work.
7. Once your washing soda is dissolved and well mixed in, add 1/2 cup of borax and stir for 2-3 minutes to dissolve and mix well.
8. At this point you can add your fragrance if you so desire. We love good smelling things at our house and so I like to add a little extra yummy smell - this time I chose a sandalwood amber fragrance oil that I got at the Dollar Tree - you can use essential oils but that would drive your cost up considerably - for something like this I am perfectly happy using Dollar Tree fragrance oil - it's up to you ;-)
9. Give it one final really great and wonderful stir.
10. Pop the lid on tight and let it sit overnight.
This is where the magic happens. In the morning you will open your bucket to 3 gallons of gelled glop - it will smell great, it will clean your clothes but the consistency will be a little watery and a gloppy - that is perfectly ok!
I transfer mine to a pour spout container that I keep above my washing machine for easy peasy dispensing when it's laundry time. Use 1/2 cup per load or the measure out in the plastic cup that came on one of those expensive store bought laundry bottles that you will never have to buy again - they work great ;-) I have used the same one for years and take great satisfaction in knowing that I will never buy another one again!!
So there you have it! Easy as can be, fun to make and best of all it's frugal and it works....what are you waiting for? Check your hair, jump in the car and run out and get the ingredients that you don't have on hand now!! If you have what you need to make this you should not even be reading this part!!